Minipresso Review

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hansm1960

#1: Post by hansm1960 »

My first reaction when unpacking the Minipresso was: "heavy"! But in a very positive way: the device is very smartly designed, and although it looks like it's entirely made of plastic, the core section has such a solid feel to it, that it makes me wonder if it contains any steel parts. Whatever it is, it feels good, and I love the design. It is really easy to operate, stable to hold, and ergonomically smartly designed.

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The first time I took the device apart I felt a little intimidated by the number of parts, but after pulling just a few shots it all came together nicely.
The device appears to be well-made: everything fits together very smoothly. The cup that comes with the device clicks onto the top part as a cover. There's a lower part that is filled with hot water, just off the boil. It is very easy to unscrew and screw back on. The top part (which becomes the bottom part, once you turn the device around and start "pumping" your shot) is where the pressure is built up. When you unscrew it, you find the filter-basket, which you can take out.

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The surprise element is that when you operate the Minipresso, the filter basket is actually upside down. At first I found that weird, because I always thought that the whole point of tamping your coffee in a portafilter is that the water should be pushed under pressure through the compacted coffee. On closer inspection however: when you return the top-part, you actually compress the coffee in the filter basket with the metal filter in the top part.

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The short version of operating the Minipresso: remove the cup, open the top, take out the filter basket and fill it with one scoop of coffee, press the coffee very gently with the back of the scoop, place it back and screw the top back on. Unscrew the bottom-part, fill it with boiling water, and screw it back on again. Turn the device around, unlock the piston, and start pumping. After ca. 7 pumps the system is under pressure and the coffee is infusing. After that, keep pumping and the shot starts flowing, with a good crema. That's all, as easy as that.

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The longer version: I found that it's best to flush the device once with hot water. Without doing that, the temperature drop can be a bit much if the device is real cold. I guess that's normal for any espresso device. Flushing it with hot water is easy, but you have to understand the device: when everything is put together, the filter basket actually forms a direct channel between the main part and the outlet. If you don't place the filter basket, the water fills up the top part, rather than running through it. That also works for pre-heating it, but it gets a bit messy, and you have to be careful unscrewing the top part, because it's filled with hot water. I prefer to leave the filter basket in: the hot water will flow through, and you can pump it straight into your cup to preheat that as well. The only slight disadvantage is that the filter basket will be wet when you fill it with coffee.

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After preheating/flushing the device, I fill the filter basket with one scoop of coffee. One scoop is 7-8 grams. It will not completely fill the basket when you compress it gently. Which is just right. I tried to fill it completely and tamp it firmly. All against the instructions, just because I wanted to see what would happen. Well, nothing good! If you fill the filter basket to the rim or really tamp it down firmly like you're used to with your kitchentop device, the Minipresso will not run properly: you won't get the water through smoothly, and you won't get the nice espresso that it CAN produce. But it was a good learning experience. So, I fill it properly, with one scoop of espresso-grind coffee, and press it gently. I experimented a bit with different grinds, and came to the conclusion that the same grind I use for my la Pavoni is just right for the Minipresso as well. A finer grind will choke the device, a coarser grind will work if you tamp it a bit harder, but may not give the same result.
After putting the top back together, just refill the bottom container to the mark with boiling water, reconnect it, turn the device and start pumping. You will see the first drops appear after ca. 7 pumps. I take a break there to let the coffee infuse, then continue pumping.

Cleaning the device is very simple: just take the top of, remove the filter basket, wash the used grinds out of it. Fill the bottom container once more with hot water, reconnect it, put the filter basket back and the top back on, and pump the water through. Some more rinsing and wiping will leave the device perfectly clean.

As for the result (that's what it was all about, after all): you will be "pulling" a very good espresso, with a nice crema. It definitely beats the majority of espressos you will find in roadside cafés (unless you happen to live in Italy, maybe) for a fraction of the price. Sure, it won't deliver the finesse of 10-20 kilos of chrome-plated brass, but at less than 10% of the price of such machines, you get incredible value for money. Plus the pleasure of having your little shot of espresso at any time, anywhere, as long as you can get your hands on some boiling water.

samuellaw178
Team HB

#2: Post by samuellaw178 »

Lucky you! I can't wait to give it a try.
hansm1960 wrote: I tried to fill it completely and tamp it firmly. All against the instructions, just because I wanted to see what would happen. Well, nothing good!
If you do that, how much coffee would it fit? Would grinding coarser make it work? Sounds like it was choked?

Do you have any idea if the pressurized mechanism can be removed safely?

Any idea of what's the max temperature if preheating is done? I think this is the only limitation on the Minipresso that prevents it from getting higher score (along with the coffee dose).

Apologize for so many questions! :P Thanks for sharing such a detailed review. Almost felt like I'm using it. :D

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kaldi61

#3: Post by kaldi61 »

Very cool looking device, and reasonable enough in price to take a gamble. I have just placed my pre-order.

Where do they tuck away the steam wand? (That's where the kids would write 'LOL')
-Nelson

LMWDP #506 "It's not just for breakfast anymore."

hansm1960

#4: Post by hansm1960 »

Indeed I know the max temperature... My fault, I forgot to mention it in the review... I felt like "coffee-lab", but I did measure: first thing I learned was that water straight off the boil from my kettle was only 92 C after pouring it into the container, same if the container was preheated. Coffee without preheating was ca. 57 C. But that's of course depending on your "room temperature". After preheating I got a pretty consistent 67 C output. That's after flushing just once, or more. So one little tank of boiling water is enough I would say.

As for choking it: sure I did! Intentionally. The device doesn't like that. With a coarser grind I suppose you could squeeze a little more into it, but it doesn't really do much to the result. Not filling the filter basket completely is just fine: the coffee is automatically "tamped" by the system. You can see the impression of the three little screws of the filter in the packed coffee after extraction, as evidence that it was pressed pretty tight in the process.

Taking apart the pressure unit: I don't think that's an option. As far as I can see, there are three screws and they're sealed. Unless you want to rip it apart in order to know how it is constructed, I wouldn't tamper with it! Chances are you'll not be able to put it back together in a functional way!!

I still have to get used to the luxury of bringing my little coffee device: I'm currently traveling to the UK (known for its high quality coffee.. <--- *irony*) and I think I will miss the Minipresso tomorrow morning! I bet there'll be a kettle in my hotel room. And a sachet of brown powder pretending to be coffee...

hansm1960

#5: Post by hansm1960 »

kaldi61 wrote:Very cool looking device, and reasonable enough in price to take a gamble. I have just placed my pre-order.

Where do they tuck away the steam wand? (That's where the kids would write 'LOL')
The steamwand! I knew there was something missing! Well, since I take my coffee like my soul is: black..., there's only one thing that I would like to see added to the Minipresso: an airtight screw-on or click-on container that will hold at least 5-10 shots worth of ground coffee. That would make it the complete travel partner. I'll find a good little container to accompany it, but I think it would look pretty cool if it all "clicked together"...

nogg3r5

#6: Post by nogg3r5 »

So, a week later, still as enthusiastic?

I pre-ordered and I was hoping there would be a review around to read before I paid for mine, fortunately you came to the rescue. The Minipresso seems to be as good as I expected.

spaniel

#7: Post by spaniel »

I pre-ordered two Minipresso GRs late last year and just received them today.

Unfortunately the first one I unboxed is faulty and fails to pressurise - doesn't even get the puck in the filter basket wet. I had to open the second one (a gift for someone else) in order to check it wasn't user error but that one works fine.

Seems to be a problem with the air valve in the water chamber...

Disappointing after the long wait. Hopefully customer support comes to the rescue. :cry:

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oofnik

#8: Post by oofnik »

This looks cool! Very innovative design.
I would be interested to see a video of it in action. I know the company has uploaded a couple, but it's always nice to see an independent review.

Thanks for posting.

spaniel

#9: Post by spaniel »

Update - Hugo from Wacaco got back to me and provided information on a simple fix for my Minipresso not pressurising. Basically the valve grommet had moved and needed to be reseated. After opening the Minipresso up and making the adjustment, it all works good now :D :D

If anyone has the similar problem, I've attached the instructions on the fix.

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bogiesan

#10: Post by bogiesan »

Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to these threads on the Wacaco minipresso. Can't wait for mine to arrive.

I have no experience with the type of capsules the alternate version of the unit is designed to accept. It's too bad it doesn't take Nespresso capsules.